Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Give 'Em Enough Rope

Last post of the year. Hoping for more next year. Slightly taller than the originals, the boots now need stretching and finishing. These things are crying out for some pantaloons or stretch pants. Very happy with the finished product. Somehow there are now twice as many Federal Era shoes as 18th century.

Where the boots were simple, the bearskin has spawned a cottage industry. The old Royal regiments were allowed to have their badge embroidered on the cap's wool top. The 7th's device includes a crown, rose, and the Order of the Garter's motto. A delightful woman is willing to take this on. There is plenty left to do.

The cut hide is nearly perfect, with a small hair club for bears problem on the back. As with the period items, the bald spot is patched and the top sewn together into a point. The small triangular patch of soft leather reduces hair bulk behind the frontlet plate. It's also damn comfy.

The seam allowances are all tiny (1/8") with hair trimmed out.  The cap is slightly large to allow for all the metal and lining to come.

As if all that isn't enough, the cap is finished with knotted wool cord arranged in an elaborate pattern with two tassels. Wool cord is hard to find in the correct thickness. Fortunately, machines to make cord are cheap and fun to use. At left is a test batch of 24 strands of lace weight. It came damn close to the 3/16" cord required.

Kitty promised to help make three or four yards of this in January, channelling all those old New England rope walkers. We will need her help with the tassels as well. Once the cord is made it's time to braid. Some surviving caps have a Monkey Braid pattern sewn around the crown. Jason decided to have both tassels behind the right ear as seen in the 1778 de Loutherbourg drawings. More next year.